In 1985, Nintendo debuted the legendary Nintendo Entertainment System in North America and changed console gaming forever. Super Mario Bros. was the game that came with the system and is still often considered to be the best platformer game of all time. In the years that followed, players were spoiled with some of the best video game franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, and countless others. For many fans, Nintendo could do no wrong and would be on top of the gaming world until the end of time.
But nothing lasts forever. There have been countless Nintendo fiascos since the Golden Age of the NES. Some of their most notable missteps have been bad business decisions and lack of foresight, and some were just plain old hubris. After hitting two huge homeruns with tons of great games on the NES and Super Nintendo consoles, there have been some truly bad Nintendo rollouts that stoked the ire of even the most hardcore Mario zealots. Hardware shortages? Check. Last-gen tech in new systems? Check. Screw over one of the most powerful electronics companies on the planet and ultimately give birth to your stiffest competition? Big check.
There have been more than a few times where Nintendo PR had to try to spin straw into gold, and the fans just weren't having it. While Nintendo is sure to go down in history as a remarkable, influential gaming giant, they aren't without their mistakes. Check out the list below and vote up the most disappointing Nintendo disasters - don't worry, there are plenty to choose from.
Nintendo finally saw some real competition when Sega beat them to the 16-bit punch with the Genesis. And while Nintendo ultimately bested Sega in the sales figure department, there's no denying that the Genesis brought out the best in Team Mario.
Sega was rumored to be working on a CD-ROM expansion - which became the Sega CD - and Nintendo wasn't going to be left behind. They teamed up with uber-electronics giant Sony to develop what was supposed to be called the Nintendo PlayStation. They wanted to add a CD-ROM expansion to the SNES. After haggling over contract terms and licensing agreements, Nintendo ghosted Sony and secretly turned to Philips, one of Sony's biggest competitors to complete the job.
Since Sony had already built and developed the console, they released it themselves. So, Nintendo essentially gave birth to their biggest rival and the current leader in the home console space.
NES Classic Hardware Shortage
Nintendo has this habit of announcing a new product, not manufacturing enough to stock the product, and sometimes even discontinuing that product. This has happened with the Wii and the 3DS to some extent, and it's happening again with the nostalgia-tickling NES Classic. Once the NES Classic was announced across the Internet, Nintendo had four months to get prepared for the onslaught to produce a machine with absolutely no new groundbreaking technology.
Yet... They still missed the mark by having a laughable number manufactured. The NES Classic was hardly even seen in stores because that's how fast they flew off the shelves. And then, despite all the demand, Nintendo decides to discontinue the immensely popular product. Um, okay.
Nintendo Abandons WiiU Shortly After Launch
While Sony and Microsoft went round and round trying to one-up each other with more powerful systems and earlier release dates, Nintendo decided to make the Wii, whose big hook was the motion controller. While industry experts scoffed at the noticeably weaker hardware, the Wii was a smashing success with casual gamers and hardcore Nintendo disciples alike.
The follow-up to the Wii was the WiiU, another console concept that tried to reinvent the way people interact with games. Again, it was short on power and good software. It also came with a clunky, kiddie iPad controller that only one person could use at a time, meaning your couch co-op cohort was stuck using "The Nunchuk." This was an odd decision for a company that always promoted the idea of families gaming together and the public noticed.
So, Nintendo quietly started developing a new console (yes, the Switch) soon after they realized the WiiU was a dud. The WiiU had almost no third party support and even missed out on some of Nintendo's biggest first-party franchises.
You all knew this one was coming. The Virtual Boy represents everything wrong with Nintendo, from their inability to stay ahead of the technology curve to their overconfidence in the Big N brand to move units. In August of 1995, this monochromatic piece of garbage launched with an eye-popping price tag of $179.95.
Worse yet, the much more powerful Sony PlayStation had already launched in Japan the year before and was headed for American shores just a few weeks after the Virtual Boy hit store shelves. The hardware was poorly designed and the games were nearly unplayable. Only 22 games ever saw the light of day, many of which came out long after the system was dead.